United States Dispensatory 21st Ed. 1926.
Introduction by Ivor Hughes

Honey, was before recorded history. Every civilisation from East to West have utilised honey for it's properties. It is nutrient and healing. It is used externally or taken internally.

The bee honey precursor, is flower nectar.

The nectar of course is the food lure for bees, butterflies,  various insects and other pollinators. The composition of nectar from the plants will vary. For example nectar taken from those flowers that use a bird as the pollinator tends to be lower in organic acids, than from those which are preferred by the insects.

The composition will also vary from location to location and from flower  specie to flower specie. Honey that has been gathered from chemically sprayed  crops will also contain traces of the poisons sprayed on them in the same way as  all scientifically raised food. (Chemical Farming)

Honey from bees that have been fed on sugar water is deficient in vital trace  elements and nutrients and as such is inferior, and is to all intents and  purposes an artificial product lacking in health giving properties. This is common sense, apart from minor changes, the honey secreted by the bee is essentially an inspissated nectar. Raw honey is superior in everyway to heated honey, in that it will contain live enzymes. Heat treatment will destroy the enzymes.

Raw honey is rich in both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, including catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids. A unique flavonoid, pinocembrin, is present in high quantities in propolis and honey. Other flavonoids found in honey are pinobanksin, chrysin, galangin, quercetin, Its anti-microbial properties are prodigious, as are its wound healing. It has proved useful in burns and sunburn.

Vitamins found in Honey.
Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12,  Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K.

Minerals in Honey.
Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium. Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium,  Zinc.

Genetically Modified Plants and Pollen.
It should be clearly understood that the introduction of this type of totally irresponsible (GM) science which is totally devoid of any ethics or common sense and is a catastrophe waiting to happen. The bee along with the other pollinators is a vital link in our food crops. If they go down then we all go down. Famine awaits in the wings. Pun intended!

HONEY (Mel Depuratum, US. IX, Clarified Honey)

A saccharine substance, gathered mostly from the nectar of flowers, and  deposited in the honeycomb by the bee, .Apis mellifera Linne (Fam. Apidae.) It  must be free from foreign substances such as parts of insects, leaves, etc. U.S. Purified Honey is honey of commerce melted and strained, the  specific gravity, if necessary, being adjusted to 1.36 by the addition of  Distilled Water.

Mel Depuratum. Br; Purified Honey; Mel Depuratum. Miel, Fr. Cod.; Mel, P. G.;  Honig. G.; Mlele, It.; Miel, Sp.

The U. S. IX recognized two forms of honey; the commercial substance and one purified by dissolving in water, adding shredded paper pulp and filtering and evaporating the water, and adding glycerin to prevent crystallization.

The improvement in the commercial article has made unnecessary the process of purification and the present revision agrees with the Br. in describing only one although under a different title. From the nectaries of various flowers, the bee  and other insects extract a thin, aqueous fluid, nearly without flavor and  insipidly sweet, usually known as nectar.

As honey is made out of this substance it is very much affected by the  character of the nectar, so that the nature of the plants which predominate in  the vicinity of the hive is a matter of great importance to the bee culturist,  not only in regard to the flavor of the honey which is yielded, but even to its  freedom from poisonous qualities, cases having been reported from time to time  of poisoning produced by the eating of honey which had not been tampered with after extraction from the hive.

In the United States honey made by the bee from the flowers of the Mountain  Laurel (Kalmia) is especially poisonous. See N.J.M.R., 1852, 46  ((Poisonous Honey," by L. F. Kebler, Proc. A. Ph. A., 1896, 167; H. Bley, Ph.  Ztg., Nov., 1885. The latter states that Datura Stramonium and Gelsemium are  for honey making especially dangerous plants. The nectar when taken in by the  bee is chemically changed by secretions from glands in the head and thorax;  levulose, dextrose, and, rarely, sucrose being formed.

The finest honey is that which is allowed to drain from the comb. As beeswax  is a valuable product in itself, modern centrifugal extractors are now employed  by apiculturists to separate the honey from the comb, after cleanly slicing off  the ends of the cells with a sharp knife. Centrifuged honey is much cleaner than  that produced by other methods. If obtained from hives that have never swarmed,  it is calIed virgin honey. An inferior kind is procured by submitting the comb  to pressure, and if heat be employed previous to expression, the product is still more impure.

The honey which is most highly esteemed is that made from the nectar of the  white clover blossom. Equally valuable is the honey derived from raspberry  blossoms and bass-wood flowers. The honey made late in the summer from the  flowers of the buckwheat is darker in color. The largest producer of honey in  the United States is California:.The United States is said to be the greatest honey producing region on the globe, the annual production being between  60,000,000 and 75,000,000 pounds. Nearly 2,000,000 pounds of wax are also  produced in this country. The former method for clarifying honey was as follows 

Honey, a convenient quantity, Distilled Water, Glycerin, each, a sufficient quantity. Weigh the honey in a tared dish, mix it intimately with two per cent. of paper pulp, which has been previously reduced to shreds, thoroughly washed  and soaked in water, and then strongly expressed and again shredded. Then heat  on a water bath at a temperature not exceeding 70* C., and carefully  remove the scum which rises to the surface. Add enough distilled water to make up the loss incurred by evaporation, strain, and mix the strained liquid with  five per cent. of its weight of glycerin." U. S . For other methods of  clarification, see U.S.D., 20th ed., p. 691.

In the recent state honey is fluid, but on being kept it is apt to form a crystalline deposit, and to be ultimately converted into a soft granular mass.  In commerce: it is found in every consistence, from that of a viscid liquid,  like thin syrup or oil, to that of lard or soft suet. Its: color is sometimes white, but usually yellowish, and occasionally of a  brownish or reddish tinge. It has a peculiar agreeable odor, varying somewhat  with the flowers from which it was collected, and a very sweet, feebly aromatic  taste, which is followed by a slight prickling or sense of acridity in the  fauces. Cold water dissolves it readily, alcohol with less facility.

Description and Physical Properties.
A thick, syrupy liquid of a light yellowish or yellowish-brown color. It is  translucent when fresh, but frequently becomes opaque and granular from crystallization of dextrose. It has a characteristic odor and a sweet, faintly  acrid taste. Honey is levorotatory at 200 C., and is slightly acid to litmus paper. Diluted with twice its weight of water, Honey is only moderately turbid,  is not stringy, and has a specific gravity of not less than 1.099 at 25 C.

Incinerate about 2 Gm. of Honey, accurately weighed, at a low temperature in a platinum crucible, in small portions at a time: not more than 0.3 per cent. of  ash remains. A solution of 10 Gm. of Honey in 50 cc. of distilled water requires  not more than 0..5 cc. of normal sodium hydroxide for neutralization,  phenolphthalein T.S. being used as indicator. Ten cc. portions of a filtered  aqueous solution of Honey (1 in 10) show no more chloride than corresponds to  0;2 CC. of fiftieth-normal hydrochloric acid and no more sulphate than  corresponds to 0.2 cc. of fiftieth- normal sulphuric acid, page 462. Boil about  2 Gm. of Honey with 20 cc. of water, cool, and add 2 drops of iodine T.S. no  blue, green, or reddish color is produced (starch or dextrins). The color of an  aqueous solution of Honey (1 in 2) is not immediately changed when mixed with an  equal volume of ammonia T.S. (foreign coloring matter), and a 5 cc. portion  does not at once acquire a red or rose color on the addition of a few drops of  hydrochloric acid (azo dyes) .Triturate about 1 Gm. of Honey with 20 cc. of  ether in a mortar, filter into a porcelain dish or crucible, allow the ether to  evaporate, and add to the residue one drop of resorcinol T.S. At most only a  pink color is produced, which disappears in half a minute, but not an orange,  cherry, or brown-red color (artificial honey or added invert sugar) U.S.

The British Pharm. describes it as "a syrupy, translucent, pale yellowish  liquid. Aromatic odor; taste at first sweet, afterwards faintly acrid. Specific  gravity 1.36. Optical rotation at 15.5 C. of a solution in water, containing 25  grammes in 100 millilitres, decolorised by filtration with animal charcoal, in a  tube 200 millimetres long, between 0 and -5 C."

5 millilitres of the same solution when fixed with 15 millilitres of absolute  alcohol do not become more than faintly opalescent ( absence of starch sugar).  When 2 grammes are dissolved in 20 millilitres of boiling water and cooled, the  solution does not become blue on the addition of one drop of N/10 solution of  iodine (absence of starch) .Ash not more than 0.25 per cent solution of the ash in water is not alkaline to litmus, and when acidified with nitric acid yields not more than a very faint opalescence with solution of barium chloride, or with  solution of silver nitrate (limit of sulphates and of chlorIdes)

Genuine honey varies somewhat in its composition.The principal constituents are a mixture or dextrose and levulose in the same proportions as present in artificial invert sugar and in an amount ranging from 65 percent to nearly 80 percent. Sucrose is present in from 0.5 per cent; to 8 per cent. The ash of  honey varies from 0.3 percent. to 0,50 per cent. and the water from 12 percent.  to 33 per cent. In a standard honey the sucrose should not be over 8 per cent.,  the water not over 25 percent. nor the ash over 0.25 per cent. Honeys obtained  by bees feeding upon the saccharine exudations of coniferous trees have been  found to contain dextrose as the preponderating sugar and to have a dextrorotatory optical  rotation instead of levorotatory , as in the ordinary varieties. Such honeys  usually come from foreign countries, although several specimens have been reported from the western part of the United States, and one specimen containing  melezitose was reported from Pennsylvania, this rare carbohydrate having  originated as an exudation on the twigs of Pinus virginiana. According to Wm..A.  Selser, who separated wax from honey on a large scale, the proportion of wax in the honey comb averages 1 per cent from 1500 pounds he obtained 14.25 pounds of  wax by actual experiment. (A. J.P., 1904,267.) A large number of samples of genuine honey analyzed in 1897 for the Department of Inland Revenue, Canada;
(Bull. 47) , showed the following variation;

               Direct polarization, -2.4 to -19.
               Invert polarization, -10.2 to -28.
               Sucrose (by Clerget), 0.5to 7.64 per cent.
               Invert sugar, 60.37 to 78.8 per cent.
               Water, 12 to 33 per cent.
               Ash, 0.03 to 0.50 per cent.

Neufeld in Der Nahrungsmittelchemiker als Sachsverstandiger, Berlin,  1907, p. 275, gives the following limits for pure honey of European  origin:

               Water , 8.30 to 33.59 per cent.
               Protein , 0.03 to 2.67 per cent.
               Invert sugar. ...49.59 to 93.96 per ,cent.
               Sucrose 0.10 to 10.12 per cent.
               Dextrin 0.99 to 9.70 per cent.
               Formic acid. ...0.03 to 0;21 per cent.
               Ash 0.02 to 0.68 per cent.

Browne has published a comprehensive article on American honey (U. S. Dept.  Agric. Bur. of Chem., Bull. 110, 1908) of which the tabular analyses are given  in Leach, (( Food Inspection and Analysis," 3d ed., p. 635, Kunnmann and Hilger  (A.J.P.1896, 570) state that dextrin is present in all honey, whether  dextrorotatory or levorotatory, and claim to have identified it as  achroo-dextrin. Mullenhoff believes that the honey is preserved in the sealed  cells of the comb by the secretion with it of a minute quantity of formic acid,  and has found by experiment that the addition of one part of 25 per cent. formic  acid is sufficient to keep permanently 250 parts of honey, but in this  connection it should be remembered that the absence of contact with the air  would account for the preservation of honey in the comb. Honey is sometimes adulterated with artificial glucose. This cannot be detected by the official  tests with certainty, but the safest method is to employ the polariscope.

( See Leach, in Food Inspection and Analysis.)

According to Oscar Haenle, glucose can also be detected by first dialyzing  thoroughly and then polarizing, under which circumstance, if glucose be present,  rotation to the right occurs if the honey be pure the light is not affected.  Undialyzed honey ordinarily polarizes to the left, but unadulterated conifer  honeys are dextrogyrate. (P.J. xxi.) Honey has been frequently adulterated with artificial invert sugar. This is best detected by the official method given above.

Uses : Honey is a valuable foodstuff; not only on account of its characteristic flavor but chiefly because it consists largely of invert sugar, and is therefore more rapidly absorbed, it is often more acceptable to the  stomach than cane sugar. In medicine it is sometimes used as a flavoring agent  especially for gargles. Its recognition by the Pharmacopeia, however, is because  of its employent in certain pharmaceutical processes, especially in the  preparation of blue mass.

Dose. one to four fluidrachms (3.75 -15 cc.)

Off. Prep. Confectlo Piperis. Br. Mel Boracis, Br. Mel Rosae, US.. Oxymel, Br. Confectio Rosae, N.F.; Mel Sodii Boratis, N.F.